Let’s face it - weapons and martial arts go together like Godzilla and demolition.
Swords are the movie stars of the weapons world. People inherently find swords of all kinds awesome. And they are. But there are so many other equally awesome weapons out there that get little love.
Way down at the bottom of the cool list is the fan. The poor, lonely fan. Most people picture fans as a novelty, something that has no purpose in the land of air conditioning. But did you know the fan has a history of bad-assery?
Take for instance the legend of the flying guillotine. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Self, haven’t I heard of a movie with that name?” You would be correct (and possibly crazy, stop talking to yourself in public!) You see, back in the day fans weren’t always made of light materials. Instead of the ribs you see in modern kung fu fans, they used to be sections of overlapping sharpened metal (a la Mortal Kombat fame.) Assassin’s used to tie ropes around the bottom of a fan, hide the fan in their sleeves, and fling out the metal fan at their target’s neck. Thus, the legend of the flying guillotine was born.
Not that this is the only way a fan is useful. Can think of a fan as a stick weapon. Great for pressure points and striking the more sensitive areas of the body. In the video you can see how the fan is used as an extension of the hands, generating better leverage for striking and redirecting incoming blows.
So give the fan some love. Besides, know what a sword can’t do? Cool you off after a workout! Best. Application. Ever.
back when I did more Hung Gar based Kung Fu I practiced an assortment of weapons. I was just talking about them last night, actually, with a student/training partner and how my three favorites at the time were: The spear. The sword. And then fan. He was somewhat baffled that the fan could be used as a weapon but I pointed out some of the above, especially how it can be folded up and used as a jabbing stick. My favorite techniques though were the ones used to hide, obscure, or confuse to let your strikes and kicks slip through.